AWARENESS : Dealing with Grief

My husband lost his mom last Friday. She departed peacefully, All Praise to Allah. Two days after the tragedy, he was having a ‘suspected’ heart attack symptom, which resulted in him getting the first experience being a casualty being driven to the General Hospital in an ambulance. After an ECG and blood test, the doctor ruled out heart attack despite the rigorous sweating, chest tightness and chest pain symptoms. It was a severe asthma attack. t was right after the passing of my husband’s mom and his encountered with the pain, I received a phone call from my dad telling us that my uncle who has been suffering from a heart attack for nearly two weeks passed away. And I am drained out with grief and sad news.

So, how do we handle grief? Of late, we’ve heard so often that young mothers, men at their youth, struggling husbands and many more have been damaged from depression. One of the causes of depression is grief. The loss is part of parcel of life. One would expect a new person in one’s life, and one can’t deny losing someone one’s loved so dearly. We need to teach ourselves to deal and cope with it after we broke down and cry.

Some people deal with grief differently. The ‘strong’ one believes that to deal with grief and loss are to BE STRONG. Ignore the feelings and it will go away. ‘Be strong’ and don’t cry for it will just make things worst. Scrap these thoughts. This is one of the stages of grief, which are:

  1. Denial – the stage where you believe you have to be strong, and no other choice than be firm and strong.
  2. Anger – the stage where you would blame everything and every one of why things happen.
  3. Bargaining – the stage where you were considering ‘what ifs’ and trying to negotiate within your ‘if this turn out to be like that, I would..’
  4. Depression – the stage where you started to believe there’s no way out.
  5. Acceptance – the stage where you are strong enough to ‘move on’.

Accept the fact that you will have breakdowns. We are talking about losing someone we love, eternally. There will be no phone call answered, no messages, no news, no soothing or even annoying voices. All is gone, in a blink of eyes. Accept it. And cry, if you should. Once you are done crying, gather your strength. Deal with it. Recognize your emotions. Don’t shove it away.

Image result for grief images
Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. -RUMI-

People handle grief differently. One can be a softie, cry all out and could live ‘unhealthy’ in the longest time. One can just ‘move on’ showing no emotion. One can deny everything and live in their own kind of ‘make do’ truth. The wise one should learn how to cope with grief healthily.

When calamity strikes us, deal with it the way it should.

  1. Seek support and help. Turn to friends and families. Yes, some people would find it awkward to comfort a grieving friend. But that should not be the reason that you would want to keep everything within yourself. Sometimes, all you need is the ears to listen, not a mouth and thoughts of advice.
  2. Find comfort in your faith. I believe in spiritual healing. Before anything, go back and check our faith. People lose someone, people got sick, people got poor and all for reasons. To teach patience within oneself, to be thankful for what we have left, to appreciate what has passed, to increase our imaan and faith. Yes, take a time out. Treat your inner spirit, the most soothing, calming, comforting resolution.
  3. Move on. Your evil mind will tell you that by moving on, you are dishing away all the good times and memories and bury them with the loss. Stop the thought! Life goes on and as much as people would tell you not to dwell with the loss, doesn’t mean that we have to shove everything away and start living a new life. The memories define you and will always be part of you. It just that, teach yourself to adapt to the new scene without our loved ones.
  4. Seek professional help. Yes, if its way to difficult for you to live your life without your loved one, as much as you’ve tried, seek professional advise. Book a slot with trained counsellors, therapists or psychologists. They are professionals who have dealt with a lot of case studies and can identify the issues you are dealing with, can empathise and sympathise, and able to give you insights and thoughts on how best to deal with your grief.
  5. Stay away from social media or make any own major decisions and judgements.  Trust me. As much as some people would find comfort in sharing their emotions and feelings in social media like Facebook status updates, Twitter shoutouts, Instagrams postings and all, those won’t add values to stabilize your mental states of mind. To some extent, it is fear that it would encourage negative feedbacks and decisions that you might regret it later in life.

As a Muslim, we must never despair in God’s Mercy. The tragedy that we had to faced is not to undermine or put us down. It is to build the stronger us. Do not fall into despair, but turn to the One for help. Always remember:
“By the Glorious Morning Light, and by the Night when it is still!  The Guardian-Lord has not forsaken you nor does He hate you. And verily the Hereafter will be better for you than the present. And soon will your Guardian-Lord give you that wherewith you shall be well-pleased.” (Quran 93:1-5)

Have faith in yourself. Things happened for reasons, good reasons.

Power Word to Teach A Child: APOLOGY

Apology (n) as being defined in the Oxford Dictionary is :

  1. A formal expression of regret at being unable to attend a meeting or social function.

Parents, this is definitely among the words that our children NEED to learn, and use it as often as possible when it’s required. This is definitely one of the power word that not only children need to know, but also adults.

As per my earlier post, children learn the art of achievement and acknowledgement and children entitled to be angry. Children need to master the art of apologizing.

Saying you are sorry isn’t easy for anyone-especially children. Some may not understand why do they need to say sorry and some may refused to do it. This is how nurture comes after nature. Lead by example. As adults, if we are not right, we are not right. We should apologize when the occasion arises. Especially of the wrongs are towards the little ones. By admitting our faults, not that we showed them how it should be done, we will also earn respects from them without us asking.

Children need to learn the value of apologizing. The need to understand why they need to do it voluntarily and how they could offer an apology. Don’t deny me when I said that most of the time, we have to force our children for an apology, which should not be the way.

How can we help our children to say sorry and mean it?Children need to understand these three concepts in apologizing:

  1. Reflect and remorse. They need to understand what act they have committed and why it was not appropriate. By understanding the root cause of the issues, children would be able to evaluate and identify or even justify the mistakes they’ve done. The natural feeling of being sorry for their action will surely stream through then.
  2. Righteousness and repent. Upon understanding, teach them the how they could make amend on the mistakes done. Guide them the right way to say sorry. It’s not supposed to be as easy as saying ‘sorry’and that’s it. Children need to know the correct body language (the eye, the hand and all) and the right words when saying sorry. They need to say it out loud why they are apologizing so that related parties understand and so do themselves. They need to make a pledge to themselves not to repeat the same offense once they offer an apology, be it intentionally or unintentionally.
  3. Recompense and remedy. For the mistakes they’ve made, should they be any physical compensation requires, they need to compensate accordingly. It’s the penalty they are paying even after they showed their regrets and promise not to repeat the offense.
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‘Apology is the first step in correcting wrong.’
-Alveda King-

We do not have to be angry when things happened. It’s not the end of the world. Teach them in the loving manners so they know that we meant well and not to find faults. However, do be firm so that they understand this is serious matter. May our children grow being a responsible person they should.

Power Word to Teach A Child: ANGRY

Achievement (adj) as being defined in the Oxford Dictionary is:

  1. Feeling or showing strong annoyance, displeasure, or hostility; full of anger.
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‘To be angry is to revenge the faults of others to ourselves.’
– Alexander Pope –

This feeling is unavoidable. Not to adults, be it to children. As parents, we couldn’t stop our children from being angry. However, we can help them to learn how to control their anger. Teach our children that being angry is normal, but it’s important to let go of the things make us angry.

When my son was ten years old, the school headmaster called us for a meeting to discuss on how we could help him with his anger management. He was caught having a tense argument with his classmate that he finally broke down with anger. We were worried but also being defensive ourselves. Only to realize that we have to admit his issue and had to work with him to help him with his anger.

We came up with these:

  1. Parents’communication. We realized we were a bit ‘tough’with him. Being the eldest, we expected him to be ‘perfect’and make no room for mistake. When his anger issue was brought up to our attention, we realized that we had to loosen up and communicate more with him a correct manner.
  2. We introduce him the NARP terms. No Agression, React Peacefully. We told him that there’s nothing wrong of being angry, but how he reacted to his anger that matters. Anger won’t last long, but if he made any move to vent out his anger without thinking, he might regret it in the long term.
  3. We recognized that he needed to vent out his anger. We encouraged him to talk to us, his teachers or anyone his trust. He could even write a journal about it. If he still find no peace after venting out his anger, he might want to escalate this to the person that he’s angry at and discuss in a civilized manner. Discuss when he was not angry, but just express his dissatisfaction.

In Islam, angry is nothing but a lose-lose situation. Nobody is gaining anything from it, and some may get worst by anger.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The strong-man is not one who wrestles well but the strong man is one who controls himself when he is in a fit of rage.
Sahih Muslim Book 032, 6313

Yes, we do get angry when others step on our toes and cross our ‘boundary’. But as the saying goes ‘ for every minute you remain angry, you lost sixty second of your peace of mind.’ Patience and love are all we need. Angry is a disease that really need special attention. It could turn ugly if we ignore it. Don’t!

Education: To Board or Not To Board

Well, in a week time, the new year will be replacing this year. As for us in Malaysia, the school will welcome back their students.. fuh! finally!  And so, what’s next? By now, parents have already know the direction of their child of which school to go. I would like to talk about boarding school. As we know, as early as thirteen years old, children do have the option to apply for boarding school. Some may look forward for that while others may have some fear haunting at the back of their mind.

From my personal point of view, I would opt for my children to go for boarding school. Nope, not that I want them to go out of my way as early as thirteen years old. O, I still miss my son who is going to be fourteen next year and on his second year in the boarding school. On the other hand, for boys particularly, to be in the boarding school is something that do more good to them than going to the day-school.

hostel life?

I’m listing down, briefly, the pros (in my opinion) of sending our children to the boarding school in Malaysia:

  1. Opportunity: The facilities and the academic exposures are bigger than the day-school.
  2. Great teachers: Most of the teachers are high quality teachers with great motivation wanting to educate the student.
  3. Good company: Surrounding with peers who focus more on studies than entertainment.
  4. Independent: Making their own bed, laundry, routine and all are the life-skills that children in boarding school would pickup faster as compared to their friends who are in the day-school.

On the other side of the coin, parents should also have to know the cons:

  1. Bullying: Yup, it’s ugly and still there.
  2. Money issue: The expenses are more as compared to the public day-school.
  3. The ‘boarding school syndrome’: The feelings of being away from home will make the children tend to isolate themselves and don’t have a close bonding between the siblings.

For whatever, I guess we as parents know best and wanted the best for our children. May they grow up to be a successful person, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Power Word to Teach A Child: ACHIEVEMENT

Achievement (n) as being defined in the Oxford Dictionary are:

  1. A thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.
  2. The process or fact of achieving something
  3. A representation of a coat of arms with all the adjuncts to which a bearer of arms is entitled.

In a parenting context, achievement that we need to teach our child is the success in a particular area after exerting great effort. Yes, EFFORT is the root word.

In simple term, achievement is the result or outcome after we reach certain milestones like major exams, graduation, scholarships, job interviews and many more. Achievement are so closely related to being successful. Every parent would always wanted to encourage their children to achieve the best.

As parents, we need to recognize that achievement is a result when all the efforts has been put in place and the outcome is not necessarily be the best grades on paper, but must also complement with other factors.

A great life characters, good values, strong emotional strength and understand every being surroundings would definitely boost flying colours scores in the academic department.

Children need to understand that they need to achieve their specific aims and goals so that they could learn to put their best foot forward. Nevertheless, they also need that to ensure their mental, physical, emotional and spiritual are all balance out in order to achieve their best.

Should our children do not meet our expectation in achieving what they are supposed to achieve, parents should never express your frustration as it would do more harm than good.

“Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement” – Henry Ford –
  • Praise their efforts. They have put their best and it was unlucky that the outcome did not turn up as they wished. 
  • Sit with them and analyse what went wrong. Take the lesson learnt and discuss with them on ways to improve. 
  • Encourage them not to get discourage.  It’s not the end. Plan the strategies to move forward and to achieve success.

Tell them for whatever outcome they are getting, at the end of the day, their effort that counts and that is the greatest achievement one should treasure.

Power Word to Teach A Child: ACKNOWLEDGE

Acknowledge (v) as being defined in the Oxford Dictionary are:

  1. to accept or admit the existence or truth of
  2. to recognize the importance or quality of
  3. to show that one has noticed or recognized (someone) by making a gesture or greeting.
  4. to confirm (receipt of something)

In teaching children about acknowledge is to make them understand the important of showing awareness or express gratitude for someone’s behaviours. Being an adult, we know how pleasant it is to be acknowledged. The same goes to the children too.

Acknowledging the children when they accomplished something, behaving righteously, or just by acknowledging their new dress would definitely one of the way to boost a child’s positive behaviours. By providing them positive feedback an encouragement is crucial in developing their social-emotional learning.

Acknowledge shows presence. As much as we are aware, children as young as babies up to the teenagers, do crave attention. Take this word by heart. Acknowledge our children. Encourage them to acknowledge others too. This would definitely help them in building good self-characters.

On the other hand, children also need to understand to important to acknowledge mistakes, too. By acknowledging mistakes, one should correct the, learn from them and move on with bearing in my mind not to repeat the same mistakes. Acknowledge mistakes and weaknesses is not something bad. It is for one good.

In a laymen term. acknowledge is to accept oneself. By admitting oneself, an acknowledgement should be an aid for self-improvement.

In my religion, acknowledge the intention of wanting to do something is the root of the faith. Acknowledging that Allah is the Only God and Prophet Muhammad PBUH is His Last Messenger is a mandatory to all Muslims. By acknowledging the facts, one should ensure one is compliance to all the rules and requirements based on what is uttered.

Acknowledge is a strong word. It recognize, motivate, inspire and also reward oneself.

Words

Can we imagine life without words? Even the deaf find their own ways with words. Sometimes, I do envy them for I’m sure their words are so discrete and intimate that could actually make us, with vocal words speechless, just watching their body language and responses. Deep, indeed!

‘No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world’- Robin Williams

Words have power. Words create humans, relations, cultures, worlds and all. And that’s why, we just to be extra careful with words, our words. We won’t know when we will have to ‘eat’ them, with our without our wills.

From the Oxford Dictionaries site, states that
“In the Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary, published in 1989, contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as sub-entries.”

O my words!

In my religion, words have its own values and significance to everyone. The Holy Quran reminded the Muslim to use words at its best:

Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it). (Qaf 50:18)

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH also has preached and reminded his followers to ‘watch out’ with the words uttered. Abu Hurayrah relates that God’s Messenger, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said: “Whoever believes in God and the Last Day should speak a good word or remain silent.  And whoever believes in God and the Last Day should show hospitality to his neighbour.  And whoever believes in God and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.”[1] This hadith stressed out the qualities in one’s faith; speak good or remain silent, be good to your neighbours and be good to your guest.

Good words are power words that motivates a person, shapes great characters, creates positive auras and respects. Therefore, teaching your children with the good and right words, with the correct tone while not denying oneself’s to have his or her opinions would definitely be something that benefits our children in growing up.

Yes, too much words can kill one’s credibility too. In teaching our children the words of success, we must keep on stressing that for whatever, never talk the walk if they can’t walk the talk. Great words complement great attitudes, which definitely the ulterior aims for each of us in living a successful life, hopefully.